When you get ready to have a movie night at home, you pop a DVD in and what do you do next? No home movie night is complete without…?

It is 12:00 noon…time for…?

Or you go to the movies with a friend and do you sit in the movie empty-handed? Or…?

Or you go to the county or State Fair…other than looking at exhibits and riding rides, what else do you do?

It is holiday time and friends or family gather. What is always a part of the event?

Or you have plans for a Saturday evening and they are canceled…again…what is your response?

You get on the scale and it reads a weight that you aren’t happy with. What then?

Most of these occasions include FOOD no matter what–without regard for physical hunger. If we watch a DVD, we get out the snacks. It is Noon, time for lunch. At the movie theater we get a tub of popcorn and a coke. The State Fair…oh my…weird foods that we look forward to eating because we only get to have them once a year. Who waits for hunger? Getting together with friends or family? Has to be at a restaurant or around a table of *some* kind with a good meal! Saturday evening plans canceled, a feeling of loneliness and we find solace in food. The scale says we are up two pounds and we get discouraged and figure why bother caring and start eating regardless of our body’s need.

There is a mechanism that is in place in our lives…it causes us to go on “auto-pilot” at times.

If we want to support our godly boundaries of eating when we are hungry and stopping when we aren’t hungry any longer, we have to recognize and expose that there are things that cause almost an automated response in us to eat! The Hallidays call this “Fat Machinery” in their books.

Sometimes, “fat machinery” can be like those things I mentioned above. It typically falls into two categories…1.) conditioned responses (like the movie and popcorn) and 2.) emotional stimuli – like a sense of failure, rejection, celebration or loneliness triggering eating responses.

Last week, I wrote the following in my journal:

I wonder if some of my struggle with eating right now has to do with shame I feel from failing–from no longer keeping the weight off…the weight that was kept off for over a year. I am not continuing to gain, thankfully, but I am 10 pounds up from my lowest weight. If I blew it over the holidays–which I did–and gained some back–which I did–and felt ashamed, guilty, and exposed–which I did–then maybe a “fat machinery” is in operation for me. Maybe I am eating now in response to the pain, shame, and guilt and self-contempt that have come as a result of this “failure.”


The sad thing is that my behavior which is sort of automatic–a part of my “fat machinery,” results in yet more shame and guilt! This results in yet more inappropriate eating outside of godly boundaries and it is a downward spiral!

Unless I stop it.

My struggle with my eating in obedience to godly boundaries has definitely been reminiscent of things long ago. Things that, in my pride, I thought were behind me. I think what happened with me is what was described in earlier pages of the Get Thin Stay Thin book and which I blogged about earlier. When I lost all the weight, I had a false sense of value, a false sense of achievement that sort of masked the real underlying issue–that I tend to do things with an eye on my performance and winning approval of others. Because I was “successful” and stayed progressively “successful” early on as I was releasing the weight and as I kept it off, I never realized the underlying issue of looking to others for my sense of worth or value. My false belief (or belief of a lie) that what others may think of me defines who I am and my value, needed to be brought to the surface. God alone defines my worth and value.

So here I am now. Dealing with it…which is a good thing. I guess I can say it is worth it. This is one of those things I mean when I say that “Thin Within isn’t about losing weight.” I mean, we all can lose weight. Most of us have been good at dieting, but we haven’t dealt with the reason we keep returning to the same old eating patterns and habits that have caused us to be overweight or feel bad about ourselves. The underlying reason we keep gaining the weight back again.

This leg of my journey, God is definitely not letting me blow by the real underlying reasons for things. We are going deep, I guess. It isn’t fun and I would sometimes much rather be in my Levis again thinking all is well and good and that I am “successful.”

But the Lord is after Truth. Because Truth is what really sets us free. He is showing me daily that he is more about my heart than he is about my size.